Dave Klausler, author of this piece, says it may not be for everyone. I read it, found it delightful and insightful, and cannot imagine anyone on this blog would take offense at an occasional f-bomb. It’s about a movie, The Outlaw Josie Wales, and I am scratching my head now wondering if I ever saw it. It came out in 1976, and our first born was either coming or had arrived, and while the kids were young, I just didn’t go to movies. I missed most of the big ones, Star Wars, ET, Rocky. I did take my two daughters to see Gremlins in 1984 while on Long Island (anything to get away from family), and had to pull the youngest one out from under her seat as we left early. This was the movie that inspired the “PG” rating.
Anyway, an enjoyable piece from DSK, the Old Badger. (Tyrone, if you read this, I’d like to hear your take on The Outlaw Josie Wales.)
Whupped ‘Em Again Josey
An opinion piece by DSKlausler – fuck accuracy; does anyone tell the truth any more?
A friend of mine, the host over at Piece of Mindful was recently disparaging Robert Redford. I reprimanded him lightly and offered Jeremiah Johnson – one of my favorites. He dug his hole deeper by mischaracterizing the Brave’s Death Warrant upon Jeremiah. I corrected him, of course. The whole exchange got me thinking about my movies… yeah, MY movies. I have quoted the dialog of my favorite in writing a few times; I quote dialog speaking metaphorically frequently. The good guys win, but not only that, they kick the shit out of the bad guys – which includes corrupt politicians, corrupt mercenaries (guerrillas), automaton soldiers and fools. Some might say the action of the protagonist is vigilante justice – it doesn’t matter because he was true and correct. I viewed The Outlaw Josey Wales in the theater at its first release, with my indifferent father (unknown if my siblings were present), back in 1976. I had just turned fifteen years old and have no memory of the movie within those awful years. Let’s take a fresh look through the eyes of this unforgiving sexagenarian, shall we?
Straight away I must give credit to the screenwriter, from which I regularly draw over a dozen familiar quotes. This is very strange…even though I purposely seek out the source books (if such exist) of movies I really enjoy (like Deliverance), I didn’t even know Josey originated from a book. I’m putting The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales (also called Gone to Texas); Forrest Carter (Asa Earl Carter) on my library list right now. No matter the book, both IMDB and WikiLies say that there were two screenplay contributors (Philip Kaufman [Harvard Law]; and Sonia Chernus) – that does not always mean that they wrote the final script – nor that the final cut did not contain improvisations by the actors. Supposedly the script follows the book very closely. So, I will give credit to all three – and Clint Eastwood, of course for demanding such truthful representation – the KKK author was probably thankful – although Mr. Eastwood did effectively fire Kaufman as original director.
This is as concise a description as any I found for the movie:
Missouri farmer Josey Wales joins a Confederate guerrilla unit and winds up on the run from the Union soldiers who murdered his family.
This is a perfect descriptive excerpt from the book:
If Josey Wales had understood all the reasons, which he did not, he still could not have explained them to the boy. There was, in truth, no place for Josey to go. The fierce mountain clan code would have deemed it a sin to take up life. His loyalty was there, in the grave with his wife and baby. His obligation was to the feud. And despite the cool cunning he had learned, the animal quickness and the deliberate arts of killing with pistol and knife, beneath it all there still rose the black rage of the mountain man. His family had been wronged. His wife and boy murdered. No people, no government, no king, could ever repay. He did not think these thoughts. He only felt the feelings of generations of the code handed down from the Welsh and Scots clans and burned into his being. If there was nowhere to go, it did not mean emptiness in the life of Josey Wales. The emptiness was filled with a cold hatred and a bitterness that showed when his black eyes turned mean.
This quote, supposedly made frequently, about Josey Wales, by Orson Wells is gold:
“…if it had been directed by anyone else but Clint Eastwood, it would have won an Academy Award for best picture.”
Opinions of Mr. Eastwood were quite different back then (even though the awards were as fixed then as they are now).
If you want a formal review, tour the InterWeb, there are many, and almost all are positive. This writing is from me and what I liked and quote, not an in-depth artsy-fartsy load of pretentious horseshit. One more thing before we get going: I recommended this film to #1 Son about a million times, but he was living 100% anti-TV, and almost as high with anti-Movie. Somehow though, I got through to him, eventually, citing “pure entertainment” or some such, and he did view it many years later. The Fucker then started quoting the movie (as it should be), even writing about it, as if HE were the discoverer – fucking Columbus wanna-be. Again, go to the InterWeb if you are expecting a scene-by-scene diatribe.
You really should watch it.
Here they are, in no particular order… but pretty close to the screenplay.
Jamie: Who you calling rabble, you blue scumbelly? No, I’m not going to give you context, it stands on its own. Name-calling is time immemorial. Watch the video by Steve Hughes: Offended.
Jamie: I’ll need it for shootin’ squirrels ‘n’ such. A good scattergun is handy indeed… home invaders, ex-wives, IRS agents… numerous uses.
Senator Lane: Captain Terrill [is] the regular federal authority now. Just perfect, hire mercenaries to kill the general public. Much like our black-ops boys over there in the multitude of other countries, slaughtering whoever is handy, right? Rape & Pillage… YES! Captain Terrill, by the way, is played by the same buttfukking hillbilly actor from Deliverance… and I have read that the ass-move on the naive and unsuspecting dough-boy was IMPROVISED – nice, huh? I’ll not even note the highly respected actor.
Senator: Bring in this damn insurrectionist rebel. Uh huh, a typical description from a blowhard protected rich fucking government ignoramus. Didn’t they use similar terminology for Waco, Ruby Ridge and all the other fake governmentally instantiated events emanating from “compounds.” Hatred… pure hatred I have for these dimwitted usurpers; equally applied to the brainwashed automatons acting upon such “orders”.
Sim Carstairs: Ten year I been ferryin’ Kansas Redlegs, Union cavalry, Missouri guerillas… you name it. Mad dogs them guerillas. You look sideways at ’em… [snaps a rope like a noose]. They kill ya.”
Carpetbagger: Sound like hard men to do business with. Do tell. Sim pronounces them “MissourAH” and “guerilleeze”… much more effective when quoting – just an FYI. Mean guys, imaginary mostly, but mean – I’m sure.
Granny Hawkins: I say that big talk’s worth dooddly squat. Applicable just about anywhere anytime – especially given today’s world of self-proclaimed geniuses.
Red Legs Terrill: Doing right ain’t got no end. Always reminded me of that inbred doophus George H. W. Bush and his patriotic “…the hard work of freedom still calls us forward.” Multi-talented David Baerwald quotes him insidiously as background in his masterpiece Triage (music).
The scene with Josey spitting black tobacco chaw onto the bright white suit jacket of the lying weasel elixir salesman is priceless. It’s capped perfectly by Josey asking: “Works wonders on just about everything, eh?” and then “How is it with stains?” Spitting… with retard and ferry puller Emmanuel in the background appreciating the humorous insulting action with a “Eunnnnnngh.”
“Pull there pull Lemuel.”
My buddy, Rich, just bought a new Honda; the first thing that my brother Jape and I said to him was “How’s it with [banana] stains.” He grimaced. He was historically forever being blamed by his wife for her and the daughters mess in the family vehicle – which included ground in banana peels – yep.
Lige (Elijah): He’s mean as a rattler, and twice as fast with them pistols. Come on, any sporting activity needs speed and quickness… hit them with this.
Lige: Watch him. I seen him do some things. GOLD! Applicable anywhere – especially suspicious activities.
Abe: Shut up Lige. Multiple times. I use this to anyone who I know has seen the movie – although I always heard it as Ladge.
Abe: …harmless as a heel hound. Applies to most PEOPLE!
Lige: Benny! Come up! Use it anywhere WILD… or simply calling for someone, no accuracy required in the name – it’s universally understood.
Abe: It ain’t your pa! Now shut up! I know, I am repeating myself, but come on, you can get away with this relatively harsh demand, because your quoting a movie… right?
Lone Watie: I didn’t surrender, but they took my horse and made him surrender. That’s just it, the brainwashed ignorance, indifference, and incompetence was prevalent back then as well… trample everything and everyone that is not approved, regardless of the stupidity and shallowness.
Lone Watie: White men have been sneaking up on us for years. Wifey and I just watched a documentary based in Bighorn County, MT (mostly on the Rez). Horrific is fair. Drugs (beginning with alcohol, now trafficking all types [especially hidden Meth]), sex (trade and trafficking), corruption (domestic AND Native). Rooted in White Man is my opinion, Weakness in Red Man (it seems). I have no answers for you there… no cultural leadership, the glory of money of course.
Yoke: Mr. Chain-Blue Lightning himself. Once again… any sporting activity… hit them with this.
Sondra Locke played the innocent Jayhawk Kansan teenage girl (Laura Lee) well, although I believe the nudity was unnecessary (but it was minimal and brief), AND also that the Comancheros would NOT have raped her (scene on the cutting room floor) – indeed leaving her clean for the paying Comanche hierarchy – whether it be Ten Bears himself or the local chieftain.
Grandma Sarah: My son’s ranch [Crooked River], he found before the war near a town called Santo Rio. Creek with good water… trees, cattle, black-tailed deer. I am serious now, my buddies and I, backpacking, hours, days of endless hard trails and especially fording water many, many times. Card games… whatever – anytime, anything that is true and good and desirable away from the city. Cottonwoods, live oaks… wild horses… antelope… lots of quail. Who wouldn’t want to live there?
My sonny-boy kept his nose to the grindstone, providing a future for me… and his daughter (Laura Lee). Granny so smug and self-righteous, doesn’t know that her True Blue sonny boy had been banging the local whore for years.
Josie: Dying ain’t much of a living, boy. Beautiful in its simplicity; applicable anywhere on-the-job.
Grandma Sarah: And thanks a lot for Josey Wales… who you changed from a murdering bushwhacker… on the side of Satan… to a better man… in time to deliver us from the Philistines. Granny zealot, speaking true – almost. Is that a backhanded compliment?
Josie: Now remember… when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it… then you got to get mean. I mean plumb, maddog mean! Because if you lose your head and give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is. Yessir, truer words never spoken.
This is a long one but is profound. Having read The Comanche Empire; Pekka Hamalainen, I am familiar with the way in which the Comanche actually existed (and prospered). I’m sure that you’ll not be shocked when I tell you that this has been just slightly misrepresented in TV, movies, books… and just about everywhere as Red Man bad, White Man good. Pure, 100% bullshit – it was pretty much the opposite, actually.
You’ll be Ten Bears?
I am Ten Bears.
I’m Josey Wales.
I have heard. You are the Gray Rider. You would not make peace with the Bluecoats. You may go in peace.
I reckon not. Got nowhere to go.
Then you will die.
I came here to die with you. Or live with you. Dying’s not so hard for men like you and me. It’s living that’s hard… when all you ever cared about has been butchered or raped. Governments don’t live together. People live together. Governments don’t give you a fair word or a fair fight. While I’ve come here to… give you either one. Or get either one from you. I came here like this so you’ll know my word of death is true. And that my word of life is then true. The bear lives here, the wolf, the antelope, the Comanche. And so will we. We’ll only hunt what we need to live on, same as the Comanche does. And every spring when the grass turns green and the Comanche moves north… he can rest here in peace… butcher some of our cattle and jerk beef for the journey. The sign of the Comanche, that will be on our lodge. That’s my word of life.
And your word of death?
It’s here in my pistols and there in your rifles. I’m here for either one.
These things you say we will have, we already have.
That’s true. I ain’t promising you nothing extra. I’m just giving you life and you’re giving me life. And I’m saying that men can live together without butchering one another.
It’s sad that governments are chiefed by the double-tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see. And so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men. The words of Ten Bears carry the same iron of life and death. It is good that warriors such as we meet in the struggle of life… or death. It shall be life.
So will it be. I reckon so.
Laura Lee: They teach other things. They teach that everywhere in mid-1800’s, I’m sure. Much like your primary school children will be taught LGBTQXYZ – for the good of the people. Something like 0.1% of the population, similar to that famous prevalent and prominently embedded tribe having just .2% of the world’s people. These are not human beings controlling this world.
Josie: Show me. The correct response, of course.
I may have mentioned this elsewhere: not too long ago I was at my buddy’s house when I walked in upon a bunch watching a movie… you know it… Josie. I sat with my drink-in-hand and watched for a spell – who wouldn’t? Anyway, a scene came up, and I ripped off the line aloud. I wasn’t even close to the words… but I had the intent – I think. Memory is malleable you “I never forget” people.
Watch it, really; it is that good. I refresh every so often now.
8 thoughts on “Whipped ‘Em Again, Josie”
It’s a classic, I recommend watching it. I’ve seen it several times, one of those movies when it comes on, just pulls me in for awhile. Didn’t know there was a book, i’ll have to see if my library has it..
They flip the usual Hollywood script by making the Southern general charismatic and just, while the Northern officers are cretinous, cruel, dishonorable etc. I guess the South was more suited to the pro- “outlaw, rebel” stance the movie took. Compare with more recent Tarantino movies with their over the top Southern villains. But in Josie, it’s still subtly shown that the top officers of both sides are having a gentlemanly (and masonic?) dispute, which the poor wretches of either side have been dragooned into fighting. The Southern general respects and sympathizes with Josie but is not himself an “outlaw” who can do more than a few gestures and moral support, IIRC.
Good point, another way to look at the movie is that maybe Josie wasn’t the innocent good ole boy that makes a stand, although I’ll always watch it that way. Haven’t read the book but maybe more to the story at the beginning, that the movie didn’t show. Don’t recall if the beginning of the movie mentions the State that Josie and his family lived in, but perhaps Josie did something before the movie begins or was living on land that wasn’t his and wasn’t supposed to reside in. We know the statement that Scotland was Jewish long ago, coinciding with the statement above about Scotland clans and codes handed down. Miles posted the name Wales and a few others in articles described as Phoney names.
Similar could be said with the original Karate Kid movie. Danielson is potrayed as being bullied and then making a stand and winning at the end. But a youtube video(which I wont post the link) shows examples otherwise, that Daniel was the instigator and deserved any harsh treatment. Then another one is Braveheart but thinking if Mel Gibson’s character and other characters were Jewish puts a different light on the movie nothing bad just viewing movie under a different context. Wallace, another name exposed by Miles, even Melvin Gibson himself being exposed. That timeframe in history shows that the English were not ruled by the Phonies with Edward I at the helm or was he installed by them? Once again usually both sides of a conflict are usually controlled by them, and the poor wretches of either side get the shaft
He starts out in Missouri, says the post above. The movie paints him as pretty innocent to begin with, but I haven’t read the book either. I’m sure the name has some of the usual connections. I think it also suggests “wailing” ie suffering, and whale as in the white whale Moby Dick, as the union general is Ahab like, hunting him.
Regarding “Fucker”: I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. He’s quite a bit more intelligent than I am, but he forgets occasionally how much smarter I am.
Go here, there are images. Look at the last image with a caption; read the caption.
I know a guy here that was in that movie. He was on the raft crossing the river and had to jump in the water when Josey was shooting (Feather River near Oroville, CA). Good read as always.
I thought I remember all the Eastwoods western movies, but I don’t remember if I have ever seen this. Those Leone’s Italian westerns are very famous here and comes from the television every now and then and so comes “High Plains Drifter”, (Clint’s first “own” western?), but never seen this Josie Wales one from the television. May be that I saw it once from VCR in my youth.
I have to watch it some day.
Funny that I didn’t also remember that Clint in 70’s use to look so much like Hugh Jackman, (in his Wolverine role anyway). Or am I just imagining that?